In July 2018, the government announced new funding to give rural businesses and communities improved broadband access. In addition to the £30 million investment announced in 2017 for the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme, a further £45 million is to be made available. The announcement follows the launch of the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, which prioritised hard-to-reach rural areas for a roll-out of full-fibre connectivity and is part of a £3.5 billion planned investment into rural economies by 2020.
The government’s Superfast Broadband Programme is working towards providing access to approximately 97% of premises in the UK over the next few years. The additional funding is to be made available to local authorities in rural areas, where broadband speeds of 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) or faster are unavailable or unplanned.
Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner announced the funding whilst visiting the North York Moors National Park, in North Yorkshire, one of the local authorities that has received a grant offer of more than £11m.
Lord Gardiner said; “Rural areas should not be left behind in the connectivity slow lane, missing out on the opportunities high speed broadband can bring. The funding made available through the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme champions our countryside communities and businesses by opening up access to broadband of at least 30 Mps, in some of the most hard-to-reach areas.”